How to Survive Skiing with Kids
So you want to take your kids skiing? Just stay home.
No, no. I’m kidding.
Last year we took our 18-month old daughter skiing, and she was pretty easy. This year, I officially have a toddler, who happens to have an opinion. Her latest opinion is that she needs to wear a tank top every day. Even in zero degree weather.
So you can imagine the joy it was getting her to put on all of the layers and clothes that skiing requires in order to stay warm. I will spare the details, but if you were on Whitefish Mountain last weekend, (or Big Mountain as I will always call it), you might have noticed us.
I am assuming that there are a lot of children who struggle with some part of the skiing process. I hope I am not the only one!
Thinking back to my days growing up on Big Mountain, I remember several times over on good ol’ Chair 3 that I threw a few tantrums. I was too hot. I was too cold. I couldn’t get my boots into my bindings because there was too much snow on them. I am sure my parents could help out here, but these are all good reminders that skiing with kids is not easy for anyone. But mostly it is not easy for the parents.
Here are some ideas on how to keep everyone sane while skiing with little ones:
1. Accept that there may be some screaming and let it go.
Children are easily frustrated. Parents may be easily frustrated. Skiing is a lot of work. All of the clothes, and equipment, and cold weather can be a recipe for said frustration. Our day started out with a lot of tears, but if you just give it enough time to get past that and let them get through it, it can be a fantastic day. I knew once we got over the initial part that she would have fun. (Also, I never raise my voice. Be as empathetic as possible in the moment.)
2. Save yourself time any way you can.
The quicker you can get them on the slopes the day of skiing, the easier it will be. If you are renting equipment, be sure to get it the day before if you can. If you need a ski pass, try to get the picture taken before the day you will be going. Be ready to head straight onto the hill. This may be more important if you have very small children where you have to get the time on the hill done before they become overtired. Tired kids make for cranky kids.
3. Use the drop-off zone to drop off kids if possible.
Making kids carry skis and themselves from a parking lot that may be a long way from the base lodge is never a good idea. Help your family out by carrying everything in for them from the drop-off area and then parking the car after.
4. Stock up on hand warmers and keep them warm.
A cold kid is sure to be an unhappy kid. Besides the clothing they need, hand warmers are a quick and easy way to give them a boost. And they don’t need to just be in their hands. They sell gloves with pockets that hold hand warmers. But you can also put hand warmers in their coat pockets to help keep them warm.
5. Carry a backpack.
Carrying a backpack is a necessity with small children. Better yet, get a locker on the mountain to store your stuff in if you are able. I always waitlist for one but never get one. Carrying a small backpack lets us put diapers, wipes, wallet, extra clothes, snacks, water, and anything else we might need in the pack. Then we can carry it with us while we ski.
6. Keep it fun.
Keep it fun by bringing stickers to stick on their helmet in the lodge. Some ski areas will have free stickers for kids. Letting them have a hot chocolate or french fries can go a long way in the middle of skiing or when you are finished as a fun treat.
Watch for my gear guide for kids skiing soon!